Saturday, March 15, 2014

fifty shades of I AM JUST HERE TO BUY A CAR

People tell you weird things when you're pregnant.

I'm not just talking about the "Wow, you still have a month to go??" comments (I got that this week, but I was wearing the sweater which made people think I was eight months along back in December, so I wasn't too surprised to hear that a lot) or the guy who asked in the coffeeshop, "Is this your first?" and when I said yes, replied, "Really?!" like that was the most shocking thing I could have said. Yes, I'm in the stage where one doesn't sleep, so I look like hell, but... did he think that I look like someone who was exhausted from chasing other kids, or that I look a million years old? Either way, charming.

A co-worker came to my office Friday morning saying, "I wanted to check up on you, because you really shouldn't still be here. You have, what, a week to go?" and then refused to be convinced that despite my enormity I really do have a due date of April 17th. "Maybe they got the due date wrong," I hear a lot. As if I could not possibly have any idea when this child was conceived. (Which I do not point out, because it's NOT their business and there is also the terrible possibility that if I did say so, one of them would ask how I know that. Uh, well.... seriously?) 

Conception is, in fact, the point I'm making: that none of the "you're huge!" comments are as weird as the random stuff people tell you about how / where / why their kids were conceived. I guess once you're walking around visibly pregnant, the whole "she's had sex!" thing causes some people to lose all boundaries when making the judgment call about whether a stranger needs to hear about their sex lives. 

Thursday night I traded in the silly muscle car for a sensible, cute sedan. It's the first time I've owned a car with four doors; I guess I'm an adult now. (Let's ask the guy in the coffeeshop how long he thinks I've been an adult.) The finance manager started in talking about his kids as soon as we sat down, because that's what you do with a pregnant woman, and that's fine. But then he told me, out of nowhere, that his second child is a "greyby". Having never heard that term, I looked perplexed. He clarified that that means "a Fifty Shades of Grey baby".

"Oh," I said, looking longingly at the paperwork. Please don't elaborate. 

"Yeah," he elaborated. "We thought we weren't going to have another one, and then my wife read those books!"

Now, I have not read those books. But I have read the recaps by hilarious and courageous bloggers who have read them so that the rest of us don't have to. And so I know that what this guy thought he was telling me was that his wife was turned on by a book about two consenting adults who enter into a mutually-gratifying relationship with some BDSM elements. (Which is still a creepy-ass thing to tell a complete stranger, not leastly because I tend to think his wife's turn-ons are hers to disclose or not.) And I know that what this guy was actually telling me was that his wife was turned on by a book about a man who beats, rapes, and emotionally abuses the woman he has isolated, manipulated, and purchased into being his "girlfriend". Seriously, those books are FUCKED UP. I know they were Twilight fan fiction originally, but frankly the excerpts I've seen read like American Psycho fan fiction, if there is such a thing (there almost certainly is such a thing and I SO don't want to know). Christian Grey is a vicious and calculating stalker-turned-abuser, but it's supposed to be romantic because he's unbelievably rich and handsome. I have opinions about this (they all boil down to: NO NO NO).

Note: I am NOT saying that BDSM is fucked up. These books do NOT depict a relationship between two consenting adults who are both getting physical and emotional gratification from certain sexual practices usually defined as BDSM. These books depict a man forcing and pressuring a vulnerable and inexperienced woman into sexual practices that she does not enjoy, until the power of True Love (and accidental pregnancy, of course) makes him okay with the kind of sex she prefers. Which is why you should stick with your abuser, because he might eventually, grudgingly, let you dictate how the two of you manage your obviously incompatible sexual desires, and that's proof that he loves you!

Also: you should stick with him because he has money. Money money money. He will buy you computers and cars and houses. The modern-romance-novel trope that that is a) true love and b) what women want in terms of wish fulfillment disgusts me. I've talked about it before, but the older I get the angrier it makes me that writers and marketers are still pushing this on women. Like my life would be infinitely more romantic and sexy if I was married to a guy who periodically just presents me with a new car, fully paid-for, that he picked out without consulting me, instead of me having to go buy one myself with the money I earn. Oh, if only Berowne were a controlling millionaire who knows my dress size / what car I should drive / what's best for me! 

...Of course, if he were, then he would have had to hear about the finance manager's sex life, and I would have been spared the knowledge that the term "greyby" is a thing. So clearly there are pros and cons. 

I have been reading, I swear. More about that later. 

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